It has been pretty quiet around here, but this is partly because i lately have been stuck with my old Xbox 360 while my Xbox One is being repaired in Frankfurt. I was very frustrated at having to live without myxXbox for up to 21 days + shippind time, so i decided to dust off my Xbox 360
I initially tried the games already installed, like Farcry 3 and Fable 3. Those were good fun and i really enjoyed them back then. I still did, but i did feel that i needed a racing game instead. So i went ahead and downloaded Forza Horizon (1) that i had gotten for free through Xbox One Gold a few months back. This was good too, and really, it was better than no racing games.
It still didn’t quite satisfy tha racing itch though and i still needed some sort of cirquit racing. In a desperate move, i went ahead and bought Shift 2 Unleashed. I really didn’t know what i was getting into, so i was prepared for more or less anything. The intro sequence looked mindblowing though and once the game got started, i was pretty much hooked!
Shift 2 Unleashed was released before Forza Horizon, but was a whole lot better! It actually felt more like Project Cars 1. Many small details even seem to have simmered through all the way to Project Cars 2. The glimmer like debris on the track, rock sized rubber marbles, impresive camera flares (as if our eyes were cameras), shimmering antialising, your car throwing shadows in front of you when there is a car behind, the helmet view and many more. I instantly felt at home, and only needed to get used to the handling, that was a bit wobly.
I know that there is a lot of work going on under the hood in games like Project Cars and Forza, but honeslty, i don’t feel like most of us realise them to their full debth, especially if they don’t work propperly. Comparing Shift 2 Unleashed to Project Cars 2, i do realise that we now have tire models (that don’t always work), dynamic weather (not what Forza 7 had done), better online racing (but bad racers), better graphics (surprisingly less than expected), and maybe some more features that i can’t remember at the moment.
The main point though, is if it is all worth it? Why put energy and money into something very few, if only the developers, realise how cool it realy is. Project cars has a date picker, for your race, that even will put the stars in a night race at the right place, and pick the right moon fase. Do we really need this? Parts of the inside (and outside) of the car, that you rarely notice, move when you go fast. If things go down that same path, dvelopers might as well incorporate individual AI personality trades to the spectators of a race.
I am currently having a lot of fun with Shift 2 Uleashed, and almost hope that my Xbox One will be a little delayed, so that i can complete some more of the career mode. In my head, this game could be shined up with some better User Interface, be re-released now, and still do pretty well against many established games.
Oh… wait! This more or less seems to be what games nowadays are doing, but at the same time, add valuable content as DLC, introduce roulette and lucky spin betting, loot crates and leave out the thorough development they used to have. More or less everything on Shift 2 Uleashed worked as you would expect, and this is a game that is 7 years old! They did not have the luxury of huge batches that would fix poor development, so they needed to make sure everything was alright.
Slightly Mad Studios might have made a great job back in 2011, with an epic game. I wish they and other developers would have a look back to their roots, and work on what really matters. Well functioning games, with improvements that really matter to us gamers.